As the weather gets colder, there’s almost nothing better than changing into comfy sweats or PJs and burrowing under blankets with a fire going in the fireplace – in fact, the only thing that would make that better would be a good book. Thankfully, you’re in luck. This fall and winter there’s a plethora of wonderful books being published, much to my wallet’s dismay. Here are my picks to add to your winter TBR pile.
Dangerous Boobies: Breaking Up with My Time-Bomb Breasts by Caitlin Brodnick
Yes, another “cancer memoir.” But this one is different – irreverent, if you will. At the age of 28, Brodnick, a speaker and comedian, tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation, and decided to get a prophylactic double mastectomy. She went from a 32G to a 32C, and she chronicles surgery, recovery, and reconstruction in a relatable, funny way that will actually leave you laughing. More than just a book about breast cancer, it’s about learning to feel comfortable in one’s skin, and learning to love your body.
The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody
It’s the one-year anniversary of her best friend’s death, and Ryn is stuck in an airport overnight. The one unread text message on her phone? It’s from her best friend, right before she died. When she meets a guy named Xander, and they accidently switch phones, an unexpected night unfolds. This is an unexpectedly charming YA novel to dig into on a winter’s night.
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
This book is scarily appropriate for the times. In this story, abortion is illegal in America, IVF is illegal, and embryos have rights and property. Zumas tells the stories of five women in a small town, and what happens during a witch hunt of one of them. If you loved The Handmaid’s Tale, or simply care about reproductive rights, you need to read this book.
Mean by Myriam Gurba
This memoir/true crime hybrid is well-crafted, like nothing I’ve read before. Gurba is a queer, mixed-race Chicana who takes on misogyny, sexual assault, racism, and family. Written with biting attitude and an eye for everything, her words have stayed with me long after I finished this. “Being mean isn’t for everybody. Being mean is best practiced by those who understand it as an art form.”
Now is Everything by Amy Giles
I finished this YA novel in one night, because I couldn’t put it down. Told in “then” and “now” chapters, it tells the story of the secrets of a picture-perfect family that all come crashing down – literally – in a plane accident. Hadley is the sole survivor, and when she attempts suicide in the hospital afterward, an investigation ensues.
This Will be my Undoing by Morgan Jerkins
This collection of linked essays is a brilliantly written look at misogyny, racism, pop culture, black history, and more, against the backdrop of her experiences as a black woman. Incisive, funny, and yes, inspiring, if you love Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, or Carina Chocano, you’ll also love this book.
Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby
Set the summer before Hurricane Sandy, Kate just moved to NYC from England and spends her days talking with her long-distance boyfriend, and cat-sitting. She eventually meets Bill and his daughter Inez, and quickly becomes enmeshed with them. The descriptions of Manhattan are visceral and beautiful, and the characters are flawed and real. New York novels are a dime a dozen, but this one stands out.
This Could Hurt: A Novel by Jillian Medoff
Corporate culture and humorous insight are usually not partners, but Medoff manages to construct a compelling story about five coworkers in HR from a small company that is faced with economic strain. Anyone who’s worked in an office will be able to find relatable aspects of each character. The book may seem like it’s about work, but it’s really a story of love and friendship.
Only Child: A Novel by Rhiannon Navin
At first glance, this might sound like another school shooting book – but this one is not only narrated by a six-year-old, it looks at what happens in a family afterward, when justice is sought, and surviving children start to heal. This could have turned out badly – narrating from a child’s perspective – but Navin handles this with ease, and the result is a haunting, beautiful book.
Lifesaving for Beginners: A Memoir by Anne Edelstein
Edelstein’s mother, a strong and experienced swimmer, drowned while snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, and the author found herself not only mourning her mother, but also her brother, who had killed himself more than 10 years prior. This book is an exploration of grief, love, family, mental illness, motherhood, and the ways in which we mourn and heal. Not an easy book to read, but a good one.